About the Ricoh GR III

This post had to be called “Ricoh GR III review” but I had to change the title, because this won’t be a review after all.

I received my Ricoh GR III some days ago and I started playing with it, doing tests and trying to understand what had been improved and what not. My goal was to determine if it made sense to switch from the older to the newer model.

The GR III is smaller and somewhat lighter than the II, this is noticeable. The changes to the user interface (camera buttons and software menus) were a bothering point at first, because I realised how accustomed I am to the older ones — but this is something that can be overcome quite fast after all, so I went on with my exploration.

At this point something did occur though, and it changed everything. The camera started to get warm. I did some tests, with Shake Reduction on and off, with different scenarios (menus browsing, photos browsing, shooting, a mix of them etc) and the result was always the same. After 10 minutes or so, the camera became quite warm. After 20-30 minutes it was hot. So hot that had no wish to use it. And a camera I have no wish of using is a useless camera, at least for me.

I have to make a point: I live in a place where it is not uncommon to have about 20°C during Xmas time. During summer months we are usually above 30°C and we easily go to 35, 38, even 40°C and more. So, a warm or hot camera is not a good idea for me.

The Olympus Pen-F does warm a bit but it is nothing compared with the Ricoh GR III: for the Pen-F I managed to reduce the heat by turning on the in body stabilisation only during the half press of the shutter, and this helped a lot. With the GR III there is nothing that can be done. The camera is just too small, and it generates too much heat, and as usual the battery is in the grip, so you are grabbing a hot battery all the time.

The LCD also becomes hot, in the upper right corner.

I can’t accept a 900,00 euros camera heating like that. I don’t care about the new features, like the 24 megapixels or the stabilisation, if for enjoying them I must accept the camera becoming hot.

So, my joy after receiving the GR III became disappointment. I did various comparisons with my GR II. It goes without saying that the GR II stays cool no matter how much I use it. But what about the image quality?

First of all, the GR III has better ISO performance. On the GR II I don’t want to go above 1600 for color photography, while the GR III seems usable at 3200 and maybe 6400 if we are not too picky. This means 1 or 2 stops of difference, depending on your tolerance for noise. The difference in resolution is there but not so important: the jump from 16 to 24 is welcome but not a game changer.

Another thing that disappointed me is the new Image Control that took the place of the Effects. On the GR II we have less parameters for each effect, so it is much easier and faster to experiment with them. On the GR III they added many more parameters and I don’t like this at all. The look of the included “effects” is also different, so I could not replicate my Positive Film and Hi-Contrast B&W from te GR II. This is a huge problem for me. I tried to play with the sliders, doing tests side by side with the GR II, but the effect behaviour was always different in some ways.

At this point I kept looking at my GR II, thinking: why am I going through all this? Wasting time trying to get what I already have (the effects and image quality). Dealing with heat when I never had to before. And so on. I questioned myself: are 1 or 2 stops of ISO efficiency enough? Are 8 more megapixels enough? Is IBIS enough?

For me, the answer was no. So, as much as I love Ricoh/Pentax and no matter how I wanted to love this camera as I love the GR II, I just could not, and I sent the GR III back to the shop.

I am disappointed because Ricoh had in their hands an almost perfect camera. Users only asked for better sealing and a more modern sensor. That’s all. IBIS, touchscreen, more compact size, more complex effects.. who asked for this? And yet they decided to go that way. They removed the flash even if it was a favorite of thousands of GR users. And I could go on. But most than everything: didn’t they realise the camera heats up? Did they only test the camera in winter?

You may wonder why all the reviewers out there didn’t mention the heating problem. If you read in the comments to their videos, they have users complaining about it. If you go to the big photography forums, you find lots of people complain about the issue.

My idea is that either the reviewers tested the camera in a cold environment, so they didn’t really notice the warming, or they decided not to mention the issue because they received the camera from Ricoh and they could not talk honestly. Just see how many reviewers are thanking Ricoh for the test camera, how many were invited by Ricoh to events, etc. Other options are that the reviewers din’t pay attention or that they have a great tolerance for heat!

I consider the GR III an unsuccessful design. I hope Ricoh/Pentax will go back to the roots of the GR concept, producing a simple, reliable camera that is a pleasure to use. They just have to improve the GR II a bit: fix the sealing and dust issue, put a modern sensor. That’s all. Keep the same GR II size, who cares, it will help with heat dissipation and it will allow for a bigger battery. I would have paid 2000 euros for such a camera. But we got the GR III instead.

So my advice for the Ricoh lover or curious is: get a GR II instead. Learn to deal with its ISO. Try to be careful with the dust (I give some advices in my GR II review) and if it gets inside and it becomes an issue too big to be fixed in Photoshop just send it for repair or buy a new GR II, which will become cheaper and cheaper.

This is all I have to say about this camera. I was considering to make at least a photowalk to test it etc, but I really had no wish of spending time using it. The experience of shooting the camera was unpleasant, and this blog is about finding pleasure and satisfaction in photography. I am not a professional reviewer. I am a photographer and I treated the camera from that point of view. The GR III has been unpleasant to use and the improvements it offers over the GR II are not enough to make me accept the heating and some of its changes. Which seems crazy to me, considering how long I waited for it and how much I desired to like it. In the end I just wanted to get rid of it, get back to my GR II and keep shooting.

There will be no Ricoh GR III review, but there will be more posts about the Ricoh GR II, that’s sure. See you around!


  1. Hmmm, that’s the feeling I had started to get from the DPreview fanbase. What a shame. I need a carry everywhere camera soon. My a7III is a great camera but it’s not one I can have with me all the time…

    1. Yes I did read the comments over there. I just can’t understand the fanbase behaviour. I adore the Ricoh GR II, I like Ricoh and Pentax as companies for what they did and they still usually do, but if one of their products is not good I have no problems saying so.

      The Sony A7III is a great camera indeed! I tried it but the ergonomic is not right for me. Technology wise it is a very impressive camera though.

      At the moment I keep the Nikon full frame system for work and the Ricoh GR II and Olympus Pen-F for my personal photography, but since the GR II is always in my pockets it is what I tend to use the most.

      1. I”ve recently bought grii based on your review and i’m really hlad that I did that. What a awesome little camera. I’ve had Fuji x100 in the past but this one Is more pocketable as this should be my main travel camera. Could you share your Positive color and b&w filter settings?
        Thank you

        1. Hi there, I am glad you are enjoying your new GR II! If you scroll throw the comments there are some replies I made with info about these settings and more. To make it short: I shoot color in Positive Film with +7 on everything and weak vignetting (sometimes I bring down saturation if necessary). For B&W I use High Contrast B&W with contrast on MAX and vignetting on Weak. About sharpness: if you want a more realistic film look, bring down sharpness from +7 to 0 or +2, something like that. Have fun! 🙂

  2. Thank you Andrea for your honesty about the Gr3. Its very disappointed the new camera. Especially for the money. Its shows how incredible the GR 2 still is as camera. And yes not only for street photography it has so much more possibilities then making boring pictures of strangers. You showed what you can really do with this little gem. I consider the x100f but personally i dont like the colours and the gr 2 is really discrete and the autofocus is in daylight the same. Looking forward to see more items of the Gr 2! Hopefully learn Ricoh her lesson!!

    1. Thank you Pim. In reality I have to say, I think I didn’t even start to show what the GR II can do 🙂 I am glad I can show the versatility of this camera. Just some days ago I did read a reviewer saying the GR is not versatile and it is strictly for street photographers. That’s nonsense. I hope Ricoh will recover from the GR III and will produce something better in future, though I fear they won’t… the loyal fanbase is a negative element, because they will still buy the camera and ignore its issues, so Ricoh won’t be pressed to improve. The GR occupies a very small niche market, so it has to be close to perfection and meet the requests of that niche if it wants to survive. They removed the flash, they made the camera heat, they made its menus/effects more complex, they made the battery last less: all things against the market expectations. I have to say, I’ve never been more disappointed with a camera. I really wanted it to be better than the GR II, and it simply is not, for me.

      1. Yes im really surprised that some people so loyal to Ricoh. If i heard that a quy said that this is the best camera ever…. the same quy who you mention about the high iso settings. I had the Ricoh Gr and i sold it but luckily i have the Gr 2. And i dont care about high iso values. Even iso 3200 is still useable. And look to the sensor of the x100f compare with the original X100. The X100 beat the X100f with organic colours. I have not to high expectations of a new Gr in the future. But thats more reason to love the Gr 2 more and more!

        1. Yes I did read and watch the review by Kim. I am not a fan of his work nor of his opinions, I have to say. I also don’t especially trust reviews stuffed with affiliate links.

          A comment under his video addresses the matter quite good:

          “Can’t believe how unreliable this review is. Only good thing is the IBIS in low light. Battery life is ridiculously short, the camera heats quite a bit by normal use, lack of flash, film simulations are not the same as the previous models (worst IMO)”

          I have to sadly agree with that comment.

  3. Have you used the GR3 with the lastest firmware? From my epxerience , even during the brief heatwave we had here in NYC, no heating issue with the my copy. In the begining when I did have some heating but it wasn’t enough of a discomfort for me to not use it. After the subsiquetent updates, I’ve noticed not only an improvement in AF espeically in low light conditions, but overrall performance and responsiviness. It may be quite dear in its price now, but for me what it offers is deffinetly worth it, and besides as the holodays roll around, the GR3 will be heavly discounted just like the GR2, which is how I came to purchase one.

    1. Apparentemente per rendere la macchina più piccola. Tuttavia non ho mai sentito né letto qualcuno lamentarsi perché la Ricoh GR non era piccola abbastanza, mentre in tanti si lamentavano per l’ingresso della polvere e la mancanza di un isolamento almeno decente per la macchina.

      1. Dai ma che peccato, non avevo letto di questa cosa, per me un punto decisamente a sfavore, anche perchè con un flash esterno perde totalemente di portabilità. Cosa intendi per isolamento? Forse un pro della 3 è lo schermo più grande e luminoso?

        1. Intendo isolamento dalle intemperie — umidità, polvere, acqua. Una macchina così portatile beneficerebbe parecchio di una resistenza almeno parziale agli agenti sterni. Invece la GR è abbastanza esposta, e specie tramite l’azione pneumatica della lente in movimento risucchia polvere ed umidità. È un difetto ormai risaputo, a mio avviso il solo difetto della GR/GRII. A quanto pare Ricoh non sa o non vuole risolverlo.

          Lo schermo della GR III è in formato diverso (3:2 invece di 4:3) e un po’ più luminoso, ma non ho notato grande differenza. Piuttosto ho notato che i due schermi sono calibrati diversamente. Quello della GR III è più freddo, la cosa è evidente specialmente scattando in bianco e nero.

  4. Sounds like you had a faulty model. Mine gets slightly arm if I leave it on, but nothing excessive even in the mini heatwave we had last week.
    I find the camera so much better than the previous model that I haven’t touched that one since. Might get it converted to IR.
    The effects are much better than the previous version too. The Hard-BW is excellent. It’s probably closest to the old High Contrast BW but so much better.
    The size is better, the controls better laid out, and it’s so much more responsive.
    Sorry you seem to have had a dodgy one.
    Looking forward to your Pen-F review as I have this one too. I find the GRIII black and whites even better than the Pen-F and that’s saying something!

    1. I am glad you enjoy your GR III 🙂 we are all different so what might be much better for you can be much worse for me, and it’s all fine. About the heating, it could be mine had some kind of issue but I did hear many reports of excessive warming both online and from photographers I know in person, so I have doubts it’s that. Or maybe there are many faulty ones, and that’s still not acceptable for a camera of this price and heritage. I hope you will enjoy the Pen-F review!

  5. Hi Andrea, I can not help but think you got a dud of a copy of this camera…perhaps with a faulty heat sink. Mine has a slight warmth to it but nothing even close to being hot.
    In regards to the negatives (and yes it has them, I am no extreme fanboy), I would have thought you might have singled out the dismal battery life.
    Yes, there are some things I would like to see but not at that the expense of the size (faster lens, tilting LCD or pop up EVF) but I realize there is always a compromise.
    I do have to say I cringed when I saw your statement, “I am disappointed because Ricoh had in their hands an almost perfect camera. Users only asked for better sealing and a more modern sensor. That’s all. IBIS, touchscreen, more compact size, more complex effects.. who asked for this? ” Perhaps you did not ask for these items but others can and do find them useful. If they had not added these items no doubt Ricoh would have been criticized for not including them by others.
    If the heat you experienced with the first camera is your main objection, I would say get one more and see if that was just a bad copy. However, if there are just too many “dealbreakers” with version 3 then I would understand sticking with version 2.
    I do look forward to your comments about the Pen-F. While I do not own it, I have OM-D E-M10 II and have considered getting the Pen-F. If it performs as good as it looks I just may be tempted to get one.

    1. Hi Steve, thanks for your comment! I’m sorry you cringed about that part, I just reported the direct experience of tens of GR users I know in real life and on the web, both old timers and new users; it seemed reasonable to me to treat such a varied sample of users as something significative. You know, I don’t think someone would have criticised Ricoh for not including IBIS or more complex effects in the GR III, but it’s quite evident the amount of disappointment with the removal of the flash and the lack of better sealing. About the heat: I tried 2 different GR III from 2 shops. They behaved the same. It could be they were from the same batch, though I find it a weird coincidence, cos one was imported from Germany and the other was not. I do think the heating is part of the camera: what changes is the user tolerance to that heating, and the temperature of the environment that can amplify or mask the issue. We can say I am a big GR fan, as I think is quite obvious from my GR II review, but I still don’t want to use a camera that warms/heats so easily and that includes other changes I don’t like, especially when the GR II I own is still such an amazing camera.

      I hope you will enjoy the Pen-F review! I am still putting together some photos and thinking if to include a more general m43 digression or not. I also had an EM10 (mark I) before the Pen-F! The update was substantial, though many things felt the same.

      Thanks for reading the blog!

  6. Really sorry to hear about heat issue, before I bought mine had contact with Matthias Burling, man really loved his GR2, then bought a 3, now uses that as his main Ricoh, if you get a chance take a look at his videos.Think you will find a dedicated individual as you are, in the quest for the best photography one can obtain. Love your blog and look forward to more posts. As for my next GR purchase I will have to check on this heat issue see if resolved before my October birthday surprise to myself.

    1. I love Mattias videos, I follow him since many years 🙂 I very often agree with him, well most of the times really! I like his attitude toward photography gear, and he has a very good eye for light and exquisite taste in editing. I saw that in the comments to the GR III video he says he noticed no warming, but he published the review in April and he lives in Sweden. I did my tests in summer and I live in a very warm (hot!) island, so the warming can easily become an issue. I just could not accept that level of heating for a camera that costs a thousand euros and that is in the end adding not much I care about to my GR II. I really hope Ricoh will sort heating out in next GR… but we will hopefully see that in 3-4 years!

      Don’t take my word for the heating of course: I suggest you get the camera and play with it for a while, if you have the chance. Many are loving the GR III and it could be it is fine for you too 🙂

  7. I was going to buy the GR III but after reading your comments I wasn’t sure anymore. There are many comments on different sites about the heating phenomena. One person suggested to let the camera “rest” after some shots. Has Ricoh never made a comment about this issue? Anyway, now I am looking at the GR II but still in doubt if I should go for it or wait until Ricoh comes with a solution. Will the GR II be “out of time” soon or will it stay strong for another 3,4,5 years? Do you have any thoughts about this? Oh and by the way: beautiful picture you’ve taken, like them a lot. All the best to you.

    1. Hi! I’ve to say the suggestion to let the camera rest after some shots is quite hilarious 🙂 I would not like spending 900 euros on a camera and having to let it rest every 30 min or so (and for how long anyway?) until it becomes comfortable to use it again!

      I don’t think Ricoh made a statement about this and to be honest I don’t expect them to do so. I also don’t think firmware can fix it. The camera is very small, the battery is right in the little grip, the stabilisation of an APS-C sensor and the sensor itself produce lots of heat. There is nothing firmware can do about it.

      If we look at the GR II and we compare it to 2019 technology, the only downside is the performance of the sensor with high ISO values (that is, from 1600 up). Apart from that, I see no real improvement modern tech could bring to the GR II. IBIS is not essential in this type of camera, and 16 megapixels are more than enough for pretty much everything this camera is intended to shoot. My idea is that a GR II was a great camera in 2015, it is a great camera today in 2019 and will be just as good in a couple of years too.

      My advice as usual is that you try the GR III and the GR II if you have the chance, before buying. Maybe the heat of the GR III will be tolerable for you. Or maybe you will see the GR II will be just perfect for you and so much cheaper. Whatever you choose, I wish you a great time with photography! And thanks so much for your kind words about my photos 🙂

  8. Hi Andrea,
    Your review on the GRII was very refreshing, thankyou. I have had a lot of Ricoh’s over the years and loved them all. I don’t consider the GRIII though, because it looks like they left the soul of the Ricoh and moved more towards the mainstream. And as a matter of fact, here in Sweden anyway, prices on the GRII have increased significantly since the time passed after the release of the GRIII. So, it looks like the GRII still is a favourite. Take care☺️

    1. Hi Susanne! Yes the GR II is absolutely a favorite for many old and new users. Few days ago I did another fashion shooting and I used both the Nikon D850 and the Ricoh: guess what, the clients especially loved the Ricoh shots and ended up wanting to buy a couple of GR 🙂 When we were considering which model they could be buying, I realised why Ricoh did what they did on the GR III: while playing with my GR II the clients missed a touch screen experience and complained about resolution being a bit too low and the buttons a bit too many, they wanted a smaller size, etc. They were basically wanting a GR III. Of course, they are not photographers and they were new to the GR: I think with the GR III, Ricoh wanted to talk to them, and enlarge their niche market. Anyway, in the end they decided for the GR II 🙂 By the way, I checked your website and I love your photography projects. Take care too 🙂

  9. I last wrote to you in August on your GR2 review. Thank you for your honesty and shared feelings on the GR3, as I said in my last missive I was going to surprise myself with another 2,or 3 for my birthday, well this just saved me money and frustration on buying a 3. Incidentally one Leica site I love has many GR fans and GR 2. Not a lot of interest in the 3 and one European (don’t have permission use his name) said to me Run don’t walk away from the 3, maybe in a year Ricoh fix what ails it. So brings me to another dilemma that I would love to hear your opinion. I can still get my hands on a new GR, not as expensive as 3 but more than 2. Cost not the issue my sanity is? Are the GR AND GR2 basically same and am I right in wanting the older model as back up. Really not back up, never had a camera crap out on me and not a professional who really give units work out to put food on the table. Thank you for what ever guidance you can give will be sincerely appreciated.

    1. Hi John! If I understood it right you are undecided between the GR and the GR II? Because in that case you may buy a GR and save money, if it is in good condition, because if I remember correctly the wireless and the buffer are the only differences between GR and GR II.I would probably still buy a GR 2, because I happened to use the wireless on the go, for editing the photos on my iPhone/iPad.

      About the GR3: I got my hands on a third model and again it overheated. So I can now assume it is a common issue of the camera. I don’t know if and when Ricoh will produce an improved GR but I don’t expect it to happen anytime soon.. or to happen at all.. and this is sad. As I wrote on the post I also doubt it can be fixed with the firmware, because it doesn’t seem a problem of cpu etc but rather a problem of engineering. But of course I am just guessing, I would love to be surprised if Ricoh will publish a firmware update that solves the heating at least a bit! 🙂

      1. Thank you for the quick response, sorry if I confused you, the GR is new and more expensive than 2, as I said money not the issue and you just clarified my thinking. Guess my confusion is why people have one camera then another brand as back up, don’t understand that logic. So GR2 it is!!!

  10. Hello my friend, just FYI found a GR3 video , by BHT, BIG HEADED TACO, guy is really sincere not full of ? on all cameras he reviews, think you should check out his review he saysIBIS causes heat problem he can feel. Hope you are well and enjoying life. John Wilson

    1. Hi John, I hope you are doing fine! Yes I know BHT and I already watched that video 🙂 IBIS is a very common heating issue, yes. My Olympus Pen-F also heats up a bit sometimes when IBIS is set on full on, so I set IBIS to only activate when shutters half pressed, and heating almost disappeared. The problem on the GR III is that IBIS is always on and can’t be set to turn on only when shutter is half pressed. Apart from that, I still think the heating on the GR III depends on a combo of factors: smaller size, inadeguate battery, position of the battery, IBIS always on. The fact that the upper right corner of the screen becomes hot too makes me think that something positioned there is a big part of the problem. It would be interesting to see a motherboard. But in the end, I want to take photos, not to think about how to fix cameras 🙂 Thanks for the link and the comment! 🙂

  11. FYI my friend a Mattias Has new GR3 6 month review video out today, hope you are well and want to recommend a site to you, jeffchanemouyephotography, he is now located on Reunion island left France, went home for job, USES LOTS Ricoh enjoy,,

    1. Hi John! Thanks so much for the tip! I went and watched the video. He briefly says “no overheating” and this makes me wonder. I personally know other people that had this issue, and most of the returned the camera like I did; various reviews acknowledged the issue; popular forums started discussing this. Mattias is a great YouTuber, among of my favorite ones since years. I love his videos and usually agree with him. At the same time I keep in mind his production is very subjective, as you can expect for what is in the end his personal YouTube channel. He presents the topics as he sees them, that is, his subjective point of view. That’s also why I like his videos 🙂 For instance, in this last video about the GR III he calls the Nokia 9 “pretty much the best camera phone”. Is the Nokia 9 the best camera phone? I would greatly disagree, but it is for him, and it’s fine with me if he thinks so. Maybe he can’t notice the overheating in cold Sweeden, or maybe he doesn’t shoot more than a couple of photos in a row and then turns off the camera.. many possibilities. What can I say? I am glad he can enjoy his GR III, but this doesn’t change the facts, which are quite straight at this point: the Ricoh GR III overheats a lot during continuous usage, that is at least 20-30 minutes depending on various factors (IBIS effective usage, ambient temperature, etc), and the problem is more noticeable in a warm environment. I wish a firmware could fix this at least a bit, but as I wrote in the post I think it is a design issue no firmware can fix. Thanks again for following my blog! I have a couple of posts in the making but job is keeping me very busy and I can’t manage to publish them yet. I hope next week I can put online the Olympus Pen-F long term review, for a starter. Bye 🙂

  12. Hi, Andrea. Andrei from Alaska here. 🙂 I am a total beginner, and I appreciate your review of GR II and GR III. At first, I wanted to get fuji x100f, but my heart just wasn’t in the pictures that I saw from that line. However, I felt that my heart was totally in the kind of photos that the GR line produces. I wanted GR III, but I’ve read your article and the reactions from other fans/users of the GR line, and ordered the GR II (with the adapter and the uv filter to ‘dust-proof’ the lense). I am VERY excited, this is going to be my first good camera. Thank you for your insightful blog. If you have recommendations for further reading for a beginner like me, it would be much appreciated.

    1. Hello Andrei! I wish you a great time with your new GR II! My primary advice is to read the manual and learn to use the camera, and to understand which are the functions you need: the GR is very customisable and offers so many features, but it is up to you to make it work the way that better fits your shooting style. The second advice would be to look at a lot of photography shot with 28mm, so that you get a better understanding of how to shoot with that focal length; you can always shoot in crop 25mm/50mm modes and get closer to a longer focal length look, but in doing so you will lose resolution, so I advise you to shoot at 28mm if possible. If you are not familiar with manual controls you can start playing with the camera using auto (green) settings, nothing bad at all in that! The great Daido Moriyama often shoots in auto mode 🙂 When you are comfortable with the camera you can switch to a full manual or semi-auto mode like TAv, and use single point focus. Good luck and have fun!

      1. Hi, Andrea! Thank you for your kind and encouraging words. GR II has arrived, and I took it to the performance of the dance school where I work. I played with different settings, took many pictures, it was great. I followed your advice on reading the manual and did a lot of forum browsing. My challenge was to figure out the best settings to take pictures of dancers, and now I know there’s no easy answer. 🙂 Just wanted to thank you, your pictures are inspiring.

        On another topic, I also ordered a GR III from Amazon and gave it a try. I figured it would be risk-free because I could return it. I played with it extensively all-day and taken mostly silly pictures just to see what different settings do. I am happy to report I have not noticed any major issues. The camera gets barely warm after around 30 min of use in the office – just barely – near the battery area. The lens ring and the scrolling ring look fine, not flimsy. It could be that ricoh people got their game together. This one was updated to 1.20 from the factory, and I updated it to 1.30. It’s obvious you love GRII, but hey, I thought I would let you know. 🙂

        1. Thank you so much for your kind words, I am glad you are enjoying your GR photography 🙂 Event photography is not easy! I guess the main decision concerns the freezing of time.. if you need to freeze time then you need to raise the shutter speed and this means also higher ISO and noisier images.. if you choose to show the movement you can keep shutter speed a bit lower and so the ISO goes down too. I would probably try to shoot photos using both techniques and experiment 🙂

          My idea is that quality control on the GR III is very bad, so there are models more or less prone to over heating. I tried the camera with all the firmware releases and it sadly made no difference. I could order a third model and try it again but I am a bit tired of this, so I will just stick with the GR II as long as it works fine. Thank you for your feedback about the issue though!

          1. Hi, Andrea. I hope all is well. Long story short, I am sending the GR III back, and keeping the GR II. I did not have any technical issues with GR III, it worked perfectly. Even the battery life was great. The resolution was awesome. Image stabilization was very helpful. However…. the GR II pictures, for some magical reason, look better. I cannot say exactly why. People for some reason look better on GR II. Maybe it’s the GR II lens, or the GR II sensor–or the combination of both–but GR II pictures are just pleasant to look at. That’s why I am keeping it. 🙂

          2. Hi Andrei! That’s also my experience. The photos created by the GR II seem better to me. The Positive Film and High Contrast Black & White also look much better. The GR III may be a bit sharper, and less noisy at High ISO, but I didn’t notice that. I do think the GR II sensor/lens combo is wonderful and unmatched. That’s why I am so disappointed with the GR III … Ricoh had an amazing camera, its users were mostly complaining about the dust issue and the old sensor: Ricoh just had to take the GR II as it is, put a better sensor in there, solve the dust issue. That’s all. Instead, they tried to add more features like IBIS, changed the form factor, changed the battery, and doing so they introduced new issues on top of the dust one. Too bad! Luckily it is still possible to buy decent used or even new GR II! My idea is that by the time Ricoh will be able of producing a GR IV, smartphones (thanks to software) will be providing an image quality as good (or better!) than 1″ compacts or m43, making selling a 1.000,00 euros GR even harder. We will see! Take care! 🙂

  13. Thank you for your review of the GR ii and GR iii. I guess dispite your best efforts to really to like the new model – it’s just not happening. I mostly shoot with a D750 and three primes 28, 50 and 85. But am looking for a smaller and more pocketable camera. I was concidering the Fuji XF10 and ofcourse the GR ii. On the XF10 I don’t like missing hot shoe, suspect focussing, the wonky lens cap and the inability to attach a filter. On the GR ii I’m not too thrilled with the 1600 iso cap, dust issue, the older sensor and older connectivity. Have you ever tried the XF10? What are your thoughts?

    1. I really tried to like the GR III, but I lost all hopes. Maybe Ricoh engineers will figure out how to do proper heat dissipation and put out a GR III mark 2, who knows! I doubt it will happen anytime soon anyway.

      I played with more modern alternatives for my GR II but in the end I found nothing to be so much better to warrant the change. The GR is able of producing better images than what I did with it until now, so I will keep it until it will stop working or until I will really feel the camera is not allowing me to express myself. The fact is, if I want to embrace the 28mm aesthetic (and I do), and if I accept to work with max 400 or 800 ISO in color and 1600 or 3200 ISO in b&w, then the GR II is close to perfection. I use it since years and still got no noise in the sensor, because I am being reasonably careful I guess.

      The age of the sensor is relative, if you think of it: there are many more modern APSC sensors out there, much better than the one in the GR II, but the fact is that they are not inside a GR. Even the sensor in the GR III is not so modern in the end. Unless someone creates a camera like the GR but with a much better sensor, I can’t consider the one in the GR old, because I can’t compare it to other cameras. I hope I made my point 🙂

      Talking about Fuji: I am not a fan of their cameras, and the XF10 has a lens that in my opinion is not in the same league of the GR II. They are cameras that share more or less the size of body and sensor, but I don’t think they are really competing: as soon as we look at the details and image quality, the GR is definitely a better choice. That’s my opinion anyway.

      Right now my pocket cameras are the iPhone 11 Pro and the Ricoh GR II: they are always with me. If I can bring with me a shoulder bag, I take with me the PEN-F with a small 25mm (50mm eq): I love that combo! If I can take a slightly bigger shoulder bag I take the whole Olympus system (PEN-F and 5 lenses), which is what I also use for work if absolute image quality or high ISO are not needed. If high image quality is necessary or if I expect to deal with high ISO, I pick up the Nikon system (D850 and D810), which is what I use for most of my architecture works.

      Thank you very much for your comments! I will soon start posting more, I had to make a pause because of job overload 🙂 See you around!

  14. Well Andrea I got my second Ricoh, and I went Old School and purchased a used GRDigital iv, after deciding against the 111 I did so much reading on GR Ibecame enamored with iv. It ships today from camera store I bought it, and can’t wait for it to come. I wsnt to draw your attention to another island photographer, Ricoh user, a site you will enjoy. Jeffchane-mouyephitography, he on island of Reunion, and email exchanges we have had he was gifted a 111 and is having same problems you had. When your next article coming out? Enjoy your week be safe, regards John Wilson

    1. Hi John! Thank you for suggesting that website, I am reading it and finding it so interesting. The photography in it is also very interesting! So, thank you for that 🙂

      The next post (the Olympus PEN-F review) will be online soon, I am crazy busy with job and have no time to select the photos to include in it. I hope I can this week!

  15. Hello my friend! Was doing some web surfing on Ricoh, when got weather alert for sun and mon. 21 days till Winter begins and we are going to get 12-15 inches snow. Temp going drop pretty good made me think of temps you face at other end of scale. Hope all is well with you and your business.stay well and be safe. Oh yeah do you have regular email address? Your name .eu won’t send. How Pen article coming? Regards John

    1. Hey John! I hope I’ll soon bring the GR into Russian winter, so that will also be an interesting test 🙂

      It’s weird the website mail won’t work though.. that’s what I use for my business so I would have noticed if it has some issue 🙂

      The Pen-F review is very long and done, but I am acquiring some new lenses and I want to put some new shots with them in the mix! Maybe I will post as it is and update it later. We will see!

      Take care, thanks for you comment!

  16. Hello! I very much enjoyed reading your thoughts and experiences with the GR III. Thank you! In your experience, how fast does the camera get hot? I am asking, because my shooting style might be very different from yours. I would use the camera while hiking and cycling and therefore would usually switch it on for a short moment only. When you photograph, do you have the camera on all the time?

    1. Hi Florian! I found the GR III to become hot very fast, in 20-30 minutes of usage or so. Meaning, 20-30 minutes of camera turned on and occasionally taking pictures. This was my experience with two copies, and the experience some friends and contacts shared with me.

      I usually have the GR II with me, but sometimes I bring a Pen-F+25mm instead or just use the iPhone 🙂

  17. On firmware 1.30 No issues for me with heating or auto-focus. However the ability to GEO sync is still missing, otherwise no issues with the GR iii. Would I recommend this upgrade myself? Well that would depend on one’s requirements. At its current price I can’t say yes would tell someone to play the wait game and get it at a lower price. Its a great little camera just like the previous one I feel, yet I don’t like purchasing a new Wide Angle attachment. I’m sure with subsequent firmware updates this camera will mature into a beast. IBIS I feel does open up some photo opportunities that I would have otherwise not consider with the previous model. IBIS coupled with a leaf shutter makes for some nice clean shots even at 0.3 s shutter speed. Still would like a flash but I rarely used it on the ii. This is camera I would wait on, I chose to get it now only because my ii was really beat up and I had the extra income to splurge on it. Buying a Wide Angle lens, Batteries (at least 2, but I shoot a lot so I purchased 4 but rarely go pass 2) Wide Angle Attachment Adapter (comes in handy when attaching filters especially a 10 stop or polarizer) it can add up

    1. Hi Robert, it’s nice you found no issues and you can enjoy your camera! The IBIS comes in handy from time to time, sure. At the same thing I would gladly lose it if it meant better power/heating management. About the flash, I never use the included one on the GR II, I use a Q20 LightPix instead, it is a killer combo with the GR. I personally decided to pass on the GR III and keep enjoying the GR II until it breaks, since it still makes me and the clients so happy 🙂

  18. Hello, Andrea, just a brief word of thanks for both this thoughtful (and honest!) semi-review of the GRiii – and also your earlier, detailed, and even more thoughtful review of the GRii. I’m currently shooting a little with an ancient ancestor of all the modern GR’s – the GRD iii – an eleven year old camera with a CCD sensor that ‘only’ has 10mp but is surprisingly capable still, nearly a dozen years after its inception.

    I also owned and used the 1st-generation APS-C GR some years ago and found that its sensor + lens were truly remarkable. One of the things I like about my ancient GRD and your GR ii is that both of them have the tiny vertical rocker-switch-slash-exposure-compensation control on the right hand side of the camera – which I find quite useful at times – and which was another item that Ricoh’s engineers, in their infinite wisdom, decided to eliminate from the iii.

    From a purely engineering point of view, a number of the additions to – or subtractions from – the GRiii – can be understood (if not agreed with). They wanted to make a smaller camera – one with touchscreen capabilities (due, doubtless, to the proliferation of touchscreen cellphones and, alas, the laziness of newer generations of photographers), etc, etc – and to achieve certain goals, obviously compromises had to be made in other areas. But reading your review brings back home the real downside to some of those compromises.

    I’ve been considering buying a newer generation GR, not to replace my GRD but to supplement it – and was considering a GRiii. But your thoughtful article has helped me immensely in my considerations – as well as the fact that a friend’s recently acquied GR iii just succumbed to the dreaded dust-on-the-sensor phenomenon.

    And, truth be told, probably all small fixed-lens high quality compacts are vulnerable to dusty sensors and there is no cure for that. The complexity and costs of redesigning the GR body to make it more ‘weather-sealed’ would almost assuredly have entailed a number of other potentially crippling compromises in design and engineering.

    Long story short: if and when I do buy a newer GR, it’s going to be the ii.

    Thank you again for your thoughtfulness and honesty.


    1. Hi Miguel, thanks for the insightful comment! I agree with with all you said, and I think your word somewhat summarise the only strategy available for GR lovers: to enjoy the previous and excellent models, ignoring the GR III.

      No matter what some popular YouTubers keep saying, I think the GR III is a wrong faulty release and I still believe every word I wrote about it.

      The GR II was close to perfection — in my opinion, anyway. The user interface was very well thought, the film simulations immediate, the image quality stellar. A better sensor and some degree of weather sealing would have made it complete.

      I may sound like a broken record, but it sometimes happened that clients chose the GR photos over the Nikon full frame and Olympus m43 ones I shot for them. The older GRD and GR can still produce quality that is good enough for most of the personal and professional projects, and I am considering getting a GRD IV is I find it in good shape.

      Ricoh developed the GR III trying to attract more mainstream users, seemingly ignoring the fact that the GR is not mainstream: it is a niche cult camera with a very definite user base. Mainstream users are focused on smartphones, they don’t want a compact camera. I believe the only chance for survival is excellence in a niche: this is how I manage my own business and I believe it applies to camera manufacturing too. I don’t know what happened when they were taking decisions at Ricoh, and I am not one that likes to say he would have known better: if Ricoh managers decided for this, I guess they had their reasons.I just don’t agree with them.

      So, let’s enjoy what we have 🙂 I don’t think we will see a new GR ever again. Before the virus crisis I had some faint hope of a new model in two yers or so, and now I lost all realistic hopes. This leaves me with the beautiful existing GRD, GR and GR II cameras, plus some utopia regarding a GR II “special” made to fix GR II issues and ignoring the GR III ever existed ))

  19. Hi Andrea. Thank for your opinion regarding the gr3. I have a gr2 and I expected to get a gr2. But I think that I will cancel my order after reading your review.

    I already was a bit sceptical when saw the reduced battery life and the missing popup flash.

    But the heating problem is a bit more annoying to me.
    When I tested the pen f i already was astonished by the temperature of the body after only 15 minutes. So I did not get it. In this path I will not get the gr3 also.

    Thanks for that.

    1. Hi Minh, thanks for reading and commenting!

      The Pen-F heating can be mitigated by setting the IS to only work on half shutter press instead of all time. I found this to cure most of the heating issues with that otherwise very nice camera.

      I am sometimes considering getting (again!) a GR III just for testing it with the new firmware, but from what I heard things didn’t improve much in terms of heating, as I expected and wrote in the post. If I will do it I will post again and let you all know.

      The GR 2 is luckily still an amazing camera! I use it often for all kind of clients and it’s amazing what you can do with it. The only advantage I can see in the GR III is the higher resolution that makes cropping a decent idea, and maybe the touchscreen which could be useful in some situations — everything else seems to be more of a downgrade or half baked addition. Above all, the heating makes it impossible for me to enjoy that camera, no matter the features.

      Enjoy your GR 2! 🙂

  20. My advice is do NOT google out problems. You try all by youself. Experienced overheating? Ok. Go back to the shop! Try next!! Im sure every shop (at least them some sell cameras only) you can get a loan for an half hour! Still overheating? Ok then you can stick with GR2. But please people stop google! 🙂 otherwise best gr2 review!! :)) ive had griii feom the launch and dont feel its heating over. It not cold either. It ok! 🙂

  21. I’m really enjoying your photos and perspective. I had a GRII and loved it. Took it as my only camera for a trip to Grand Canyon and never regretted it. However I sold it due to the autofocus not being what I needed given most of my photos are of my kids. I don’t mind some lag as I mostly manual focus on film but the camera was slower than I wanted and I hoped the III would remedy that. I only just ordered the III last night and came across your site so I’ll be able to answer my own question soon but all the other lamentable items aside (lack of flash, overheating), did you find any improvement in AF speed?

    1. Hi! In my experience the AF in the GR III was marginally better than the GR II, but I didn’t do any in depth test.

      With the GR II I usually focus one time with the back button I set to it, so I don’t have to refocus for the other shots: this is making my focussing much faster, since a 28mm equivalent at f2.8 has already quite a deep DOF, and it gets deeper if stopping down to let’s say f4, where the GR II lens is at its best! But I understand this technique is not fitting every scenario.

      I hope you will enjoy your GR III! Please report on your experience, I am sure many would like to read about it.

  22. Andrea, your pictures are lovely. Not everyone buys a GR camera for street.
    I agree 100% with your assessment of the GRIII.
    I had been happy for a long time with my original GR and then the minimally upgraded GRII but of course was tantalized by the hype of the new and totally re-designed GRIII. After all the buildup, when I finally received mine I was pretty dejected when it was too hot to handle after going through the new camera set up. I let it cool off before taking it outside for some test shots, but again, it did heat up, quite a lot more than just warm. I just couldn’t get past this and I returned it. I still love my GRII. I installed the adapter + filter on day 1 and never had dust issues.

    1. Thanks for your feedback! It’s good to also read the experience of the ones noticing the overheating. And good move on the adapter + filter 🙂

  23. That makes a ton of sense and is very much in line with how I work as well, though my kids come at me quickly 🙂 Thank you for the thoughts. Eager to see how I feel about the III and could imagine I may end right up back where I started with the II.

  24. Just found a great eBay deal on a GR II with a very low shutter count. Thank you for your thoughtful writing on this camera. I use a lumix GX85 and this will be a great, even smaller “have it everywhere” camera.

  25. Omg no!!! That is such a bummer, and kind of scary. I wonder if Ricoh will ever address it. What a shame. And that was a great point for you to talk about, how the effects are much more different. I love my olympus stylus because it’s grab and go, I do not want to fiddle around with different settings. I’m impatient!

    I’m sorry it didn’t work out. Have you tried another griii since? I looked at forums after reading your article and it seems like some people are saying it’s not that hot while others are saying it does get quite warm. I might have to rent one to see how it goes for me if I decide the griii is the better option for me.

    Thank you again for your opinion on the camera. I wish it had turned out ebtter for you!

    1. I hope Ricoh will fix the issue for the next model –– if there will be a next model! For now they are releasing variations on the GR III theme, like the GR IIIx and all the special/limited editions. We will see! I tried multiple GR III copies and they all had the same problems. You should definitely try it for yourself and see if you find these issues to be tolerable, yes. But keep in mind the look of the jpgs created by the GR and GR II effects is quite different compared to what the GR III creates, yes. Good luck with your photography 🙂

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